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Natural Treatment For Thrush In Horses - No Smelly Mess, No Toxic Chemicals Or Metals

May 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 166

When most of us think of thrush treatments for horses, we immediately think of messy, smelly green goop that seems to end up more on us and the ground than on our horse's feet.Those nasty smelling traditional products that often contain toxic chemicals and metals are not the only way to tackle thrush infections.I have found several ways to combat thrush naturally that are just as effective, if not more so, as well as being much less expensive and more pleasant than those traditional methods and I would like to share them with you.

What Is Thrush?

Contrary to popular belief, thrush in horses is not a fungal infection, but actually caused by a bacteria called fusobacterium necrophorum.It is an anaerobic bacteria that flourishes in moist, oxygen deprived environments such as underneath layers of mud and debris that get trapped in the crevices of your horse's hoof.This bacteria is common to the animal gastrointestinal tract and therefore is naturally found in most soils.Characteristics of a thrush infection are usually a very smelly, blackish colored, oily material produced by the bacteria and deposited along the collateral grooves, central sulcus of the frog, junction of the frog and sole, and in more severe cases can also be found in the white line.

Thrush infections commonly occur in conjunction with fungal and yeast infections.It may be necessary to modify your plan of attack to make sure you cover all three common types of hoof infections in order to be effective in your treatment.

Natural Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Remedies

Since a hoof infection can involve fungus, yeast and bacteria, Tea Tree Oil based treatments are my first choice.Tea Tree Oil, or Melaleuca alternifolia, has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-septic properties.It is also extremely penetrative in nature and is therefore very good to use in deep-seeded thrush infections where the oil can penetrate deeply into the infected tissues.There are several Tea Tree Oil based products that I use depending on what I'm trying to accomplish (preventative or treatment) and the severity of the infection.

Apple Cider Vinegar is also a great natural alternative for treatment of thrush and can be used by itself or in conjunction with Tea Tree Oil to treat and prevent thrush.It has natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties due to its high acidity.

Before applying any of these treatments, make sure your horse's hoof is cleaned thoroughly.

For mild thrush cases and as a preventative:

  • Use 1 part Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca T36-C5) to 10 parts water in a spray bottle and spray over the entire bottom of the hoof thoroughly every day.
  • As a jump start for the first day or two in conjunction with the above, I sometimes apply a few drops of Tea Tree Oil directly to the infected tissues.
  • Alternatively, you could also use 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar by itself, or mixed with 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil, in a 32 ounce spray bottle with water and spray over the entire bottom of the hoof thoroughly daily.

For more severe cases in conjunction with fungal infection:

  • Use 1 ounce of Melaleuca Sol-U-Mel in a 32 ounce spray bottle with water.The Sol-U-Mel is a Tea Tree Oil based product that is very anti-septic, anti-fungal and penetrates deeply.It is also much milder than using something like bleach or lysol, so it is wonderful for flushing or soaking abscesses as well.
  • For very severe cases of thrush I use a combination of 4 ounces of Melaleuca Sol-U-Mel, 1-1/2 tsp Melaleuca Tough & Tender, and 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil in a 16 ounce spray bottle with water.Spray the bottom of the hoof thoroughly two to three times daily until the infection clears up.
  • Alternatively, you could soak the hoof in 1 part Apple Cider Vinegar to 8 parts water.

As a penetrative soaking to help with deep tissue infection:

  • Use 2 to 3 ounces of Melaleuca Sol-U-Mel and 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil in a 5 gallon bucket with water filled just enough to cover the entire hoof to the hairline.Soak the foot daily for about 5 to 10 minutes.This mixture penetrates very deeply into the hoof and frog and is also a great soak for abscessed hooves and to draw out abscesses.
  • Alternatively you can also use Apple Cider Vinegar in place of the Sol-U-Mel, but you should use the 1-8 ratio described above for best results.

Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to most things, including battling thrush.The best way to prevent thrush is to clean your horse's hooves out daily, apply the natural preventive topical mixtures described above, and keep your horse's living area as free of manure as possible.However, in the event your horse does develop thrush, you need not depend on toxic solutions to the problem.Try these very effective and inexpensive natural alternatives next time and share your results with us.If you have alternatives not mentioned above that you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment below.We would love to hear from you.

About The Author:

Lisa Carter is a Certified Equine Massage Therapist (CEMT/LAMP) and small animal veterinary technician with a mixed practice veterinary clinic in North Texas. She has helped numerous horses return to a state of balance and improved performance. Get Lisa's free report "Achieving Balance In The Horse Through Teamwork" by clicking here. Just type in the words "Free Report" in the subject line of the contact form.

Find other helpful horse health and equine massage tips by visiting

Source: EzineArticles
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Abscess Care


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